My New Years Resolution was all about being outdoors more, so I was sad to watch day after day pass by without logging a single mile on the trail. We've hiked at least partial trails at pretty much every trail system in our county. But there are still loops and connectors within those trail systems that we have yet to venture, so last weekend, we headed back to Gans Creek (Shooting Star Trailhead) to complete another loop.
Christmas brought us all some new hiking gear including these hydration packs for the boys from their grandparents. They absolutely loved having their own water source and we absolutely loved not having to stop every half mile for a water break. The packs are small enough that the boys can manage them without issue, but surprisingly, there is also room for them to carry their own snacks and a couple of other small things (like Eli's new compass).
The other new addition to our hiking game was action cameras for each of the boys. I thought they came with head and chest straps but they didn't, so for this hike, they just each wore them on their wrist. I'll be getting the chest/head straps soon though, because having a camera strapped to your wrist is not conducive to climbing, falling, etc. That being said, the boys absolutely loved recording the hike from their viewpoint. Perhaps on another post, I'll share more about these cameras, but the truth is we haven't even downloaded the videos yet and I don't really know that much about them. It was sweet to watch them narrate the hike though. I can't wait to see what they recorded.
As for the trail conditions on this beautiful day, muddy just about sums it up. For nearly half of the hike, we walked on the edge of the trail instead of down the middle, because the mud was deep. I got some new hiking boots for Christmas, and getting them covered with mud was the perfect way to break them in.
Eli took a couple of spills on this hike. Maybe because his feet were covered with mud, or maybe because sometimes he just takes the most difficult path he can take. Little adventurer.
We saw several fallen trees close to the trail. They are really good at maintaining the trail and removing any fallen trees that fall on the trail (or at least a section of the tree).
Looking down over the valley.
The sky...Sigh. We all started shedding layers early on because it was just so nice.
Overlooking the river. We'll be down there in about 30 minutes.
This actually is a pretty popular trail system, but because it's so expansive, you can go quite a ways without seeing anyone else.
Heading back downhill. The boys with their hydration packs and cameras barely talked to us throughout much of the hike.
Finally, we spotted some water, er, I mean ice. That's a really cool thing about winter hikes. Instead of throwing rocks into the water, we throw rocks at the ice and predict if it will break or not. Even though there was a thin layer of water on the top of the ice, the ice itself was surprisingly thick. We couldn't break it.
But we tried.
More fallen trees. I also wonder what caused it to fall. Lightening? Old age? The wind?
The icy creek that was probably completely melted just a few days later.
And finally we rounded the corner to the parking lot, where we took off our muddy shoes before climbing into the van.
Here are some stats from Geotracker, although they are a little off. See those gaps in the blue line? That's where we lost cell service, which means the app assumes we stopped hiking. So the final hike was actually a bit longer than what it says here.
First hike of the year is in the books!